December 31 saw the death of an icon: Kodachrome film. More precisely, the end of commercial processing of Kodachrome film. A particularly old process, and probably due for retirement years ago, but given its heavy use by photojournalists and photography aficionados, it lasted a very long time.  Many photos shot for National Geographic were on Kodachrome, including what is regarded as one of the most famous Geographic photos of all time, that of a young Afghan girl.

Such a sad day for old-school photographers.  Not necessarily the loss of a film format (or rather, process), but this, more than many other events in recent years spells the real death of chemical photography (as I call it).

With my recent experience of the dying of my first (serious) DSLR, I took some time today to go through my photographic equipment collection (ensuring I have a full collection of current equipment together for the latest camera.

Not unexpectedly, I got all the Exacta equipment out (East German (when there was such a thing), and the first range of Single Lens Reflex camera), and then my primary film cameras – the Minolta 9000 (and 7000).  I’d forgotten just how good these cameras were, especially the 9000. Definitely a professional 35mm SLR – it looks and feels great to use.  Sad the digital versions do not leave up to the standards set by this camera.  It is still going strong (even now), even after 15 years of heavy use by me (until I retired it in 2005).  From the motor drive at the bottom, that can take a drive battery slapped on (solidly) to its balance and features, it is one of the real victims of digital photography (like the Nikon F4, and obviously Kodachrome, and no doubt Fuji Velvia, arguably the greatest E6 (slide) film of modern time).  My best photos were all shot on Velvia fwiw.

I so miss using this camera.  I could almost be tempted to return to using film just to go back to it.  And for those that don’t know (but would care), Minolta no longer make cameras at all.  The 7000 was the first dedicated autofocus SLR, then the 9000 was produced for the professional market. Later, they combined with Konica when the first DSLRs came out to produce the 7D (my previous camera)

before selling the entire camera side of the company to Sony.

My latest is the A55 – hope it both lasts, and is a step back to  the quality cameras of old. (But I doubt it).  This is also not a SLR/DSLR.  The mirror is fixed, and semitransparent, so it now classifies as a DSLT.

Update: Interesting reading Brian’s comment, and it reminded me of the whole side of photography that I was heavily involved in – film development and printing.  Nocon was a big influence on me at the time, as was Ansel Adams.

My enlarger at the time was an LPL 7700 a professional colour enlarger.  Sold (regretfully) years ago as the digital photo age took over.


LPL 7700 Colour Enlarger Head

One reason I got away from digital competition photography is you really can’t have a good informed discussion on the merits of a photograph when one party hasn’t even heard of split-grade processing, zone systems, etc – so much has been forgotten about how to produce a really good photo with the apparent ease of digital ‘darkrooms’.

The sister site for Stu’s Shed is Stu’s Darkroom, which has a byline “Photographs and Images from the Lightbox and Darkroom of Stuart Lees, APSNZ”

Torque Arms

A second arm on the Torque Workcentre would be pretty cool, but given the amount of mechanism involved, it isn’t light on the pocket.  Ideal for those who have the space, and the funds.

I can’t take credit for the following idea – another Torque Workcentre (TWC) owner (Dennis) proposed this idea at the last wood show, and it sounded like a superb work around.  Given I also have a Router Master (or what I call the Torque Workcentre with contractor’s base), I had a spare post and 600mm arm, and the idea is to have it fitted to one end of the TWC so it can become a radial arm saw.

I first measured out where I wanted it to fit, so both the bolt under the vertical post misses the end cross member of the TWC base, and so the base of the upright could use it for support and be secured to it.

Choosing Arm Placement

I started running through my options for how to cut through the aluminium and MDF, without having to take everything apart.  Tried the Triton SpinSaw (oversized rotary tool), but the cutter did not like the job.  Would have tried a jigsaw, but didn’t have a suitable blade.  Feeling a bit stuck I went searching deeper into the cupboard, and came across the blade for the oscillating cutter of the Worx Sonicrafter.  Perfect.  I didn’t have the ideal blade for the job, but what I had worked anyway.

Cutting Method

It took a bit longer without the right blade, but the resulting cuts were very neat, and the unwanted material removed easily.

Material Removed

With the corner cut away, I marked and drilled holes for the high tensile bolts that I intended to use to hold the assembly in place.  Getting the nuts on within the RHS would have been tricky, except for the use of a screwdriver and some BluTac.  I realised after the fact that I had left off a fence section, but getting the channel-running ‘nut’ in place would be very difficult…

MagSwitch to the Rescue

….except I had MagSwitch to help.  It held the tapped rectangular section up sufficiently for the fence hold-down bolt to engage.

2nd Arm Fitted

Now with both arms fitted (one free to move, the other fixed, but still able to swing), the Torque has taken another development step forward.  And is all reversible.

Radial Arm Saw

My intention for the second arm is to use it primarily as a radial arm saw.  There are occasions when it can get in the way of the primary arm, but it can be swung out of the way,

Easy Removal and Replacement

or have the whole carriage removed quickly when necessary (such as moving the saw to the other arm).  Worst case scenario, this assembly can always be unbolted from the TWC.

Saw in Use

My primary use will be crosscutting long lengths, using a Triton Multistand for outfeed support. So that there is a fence behind the material being cut, I simply use the Walko surface clamps – again proving to be the perfect tool.  Crosscutting this long post was easy, so the first test cuts went without a hitch.

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